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Pasadena Company Creates Drinking Cups that Are Reusable, Renewable and Home Compostable

Pasadena Now
Published on Monday, February 12, 2024 | 6:06 am

Pasadena-based compostable products company Better For All has launched a new line of biodegradable cups that could revolutionize the way people drink beverages.

The cups are made with Green Planet PHBH, a plant-based biopolymer that belongs to the PHA family of bioplastics. PHAs are natural polyesters that are produced by microorganisms through the fermentation of sugars or lipids.

Unlike conventional plastics that are derived from fossil fuels and persist in the environment for centuries, PHBH is made from renewable sources and can decompose in various conditions, including airless landfills, the company said. PHBH is also free from harmful chemicals that can leach into drinks or soil.

Raegan Kelly, the head of product and marketing at Better For All, said the PHBH cups are a result of years of research and collaboration with Kaneka Corporation, a Japanese company that pioneered the development and production of PHBH in the 1990s.

“We started as a compostable product company five years ago, but we faced challenges with materials like cornstarch PLA that were not durable or compostable enough,” Kelly said. “That’s when we explored second-generation biopolymers like PHAs and partnered with Kaneka to create cups that are reusable, renewable, and home compostable.”

The PHBH cups come in two sizes, 8-ounce and 16-ounce, and can hold both hot and cold beverages. They are also dishwasher safe and certified by TUV and BPI as compostable products, according to the company.

“Our cups are not only eco-friendly, but also safe for human health,” Kelly added. “They undergo rigorous lab testing to ensure they are non-toxic and free from harmful additives.”

Better For All is not only focused on making sustainable products, but also on promoting sustainable practices in various settings. The company has teamed up with USC Athletics to provide PHBH cups for the USC Galen Center, where the USC Trojans basketball and volleyball teams play.

The company also participated in the Zero Waste Games last September, an event that aimed to reduce waste and raise awareness about environmental issues among USC and Stanford fans.

Drew DeHart, the vice president and general manager for USC Sports Properties, said the Zero Waste Games was a unique opportunity to align with the values of the USC community.

“We wanted to create a game-day experience that was not only fun, but also responsible and respectful of the planet,” DeHart said.

Kelly said Better For All is currently working on developing cups that are suitable for stadiums and other venues, as well as a printing process that is compatible with composting.

“Stadium cups usually have logos or brands printed on them, which can affect the compostability of the cups,” Kelly said. “Our goal is to sell our cups to beer brands that will then distribute them to venues and to ensure that the printing is also compost-friendly.”

With their PHBH cups, Better For All hopes to inspire people to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and to reduce plastic pollution.

“We believe that every cup counts and that every small action can make a big difference,” Kelly said.